[Marxism] Conspiracies

Eli Stephens elishastephens at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 11 10:05:48 MDT 2004


As a general rule, focussing on "conspiracy theories" does detract from 
keeping attention focussed on capitalism and imperialism. Of that there is 
no doubt. The current vogue of conspiracy theories about 9-11 are a classic 
case in point. What are the salient points to be made about the 9-11 
attacks? That the hatred which inspired them comes directly from America's 
imperialist foreign policy, and that even the very people who were 
responsible were a direct creation of that policy ("blowback"). Instead of 
talking about that, what do you hear people talking about? The temperature 
of burning jet fuel and the melting temperature of steel, and how the twin 
towers weren't brought down by the planes that hit them. Poppycock.

But this does not mean that conspiracies don't exist, and that any mention 
of them is "false and reactionary", as suggested by the Militant! Capitalism 
and imperialism obey certain laws, but that doesn't mean that the future is 
preordained, even without the participation of the working class. Different 
sections of the ruling class have different interests, over and above their 
common interests. And even people (sections of the ruling class OR sections 
of the working class) with totally common interests still may embrace 
different strategies or tactics for achieving their aims (viz. Republicans 
vs. Democrats as a generality). And different sections of one class or 
another may indeed engage in classic "conspiracies" to see that their 
particular strategy is adopted.

A conspiracy theory is not "reactionary"; it is either true or false (or 
more likely some shade in between). Telling the truth is never a mistake. 
What is a mistake is to focus on certain aspects of the truth (like 
conspiracy theories, even true ones) to the exclusion of pointing the finger 
at the ultimate source of the problem - capitalism and imperialism.

Incidentally, it is also a mistake to commit the sin of guilt by 
association, to imply (as has been implied here) that Nader is wrong to give 
an interview to Pat Buchanan (criticism of what he SAID in that interview is 
of course valid), or to imply that what Karen Kwiatkowski has to say is 
wrong because she chooses to give an interview to a Lyndon LaRouche 
publication (even if she was a FOLLOWER of LaRouche, which I don't believe 
she is, that wouldn't make what she had to say wrong - incidentally, judging 
by her treatment on Antiwar.com, my guess is that she's more of a 
liberatarian).

And, finally, what if it were true that "some U.S. officials who are Jewish 
are engaged in a conspiracy on behalf of Israel"? Would saying so make one 
anti-Semitic? No, it would make one a teller of the truth. Is it beyond 
conceivability that this could be true?  Some say it can't be true because 
Israel is really just a U.S. surrogate in the Middle East. But surely, while 
it is that, it is MORE than that as well, with its own interests as well, 
and surely there could be SOME members of the U.S. ruling class who want to 
see Israel's needs met even at the expense of U.S. needs; not everyone is 
completely loyal to their own class in their own country! Or, perhaps they 
think that pushing a more pro-Israel (is that possible?) agenda forward is 
simply a BETTER way to assure the long-term needs of the U.S. ruling class. 
Whatever their thinking, surely it IS possible that "some U.S. officials who 
are Jewish [and, by the way, some who are NOT] are engaged in a conspiracy 
on behalf of Israel"? Calling proponents of such a theory "classic 
anti-Semites" is simply a way to engage in name calling and avoid discussing 
the truth of the allegations.

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